One of the biggest mistake marketers make is assuming that all of the data from a major study or a recent search algorithm update applies directly to them. Yes, a lot of the vertical stats highlighted in digital marketing case studies and related blog/forum analysis are indeed accurate. However, every marketer, campaign and management style is different and the campaigns that you have set up for your organization are likely much different from the majority of the companies highlighted in those studies.
Google Right-Side Ads Removed From PPC Results – How Were You Affected?
On February 23, 2016 a major change rocked the PPC world when Google removed ads from the right side of its search results. A lot of fanfare and concern quickly started to materialize across industry sites. Yet, follow-up studies indicate that everything is OK – CPC remains steady, low positions are doing better than normal and the advertiser space hasn’t changed much. Research even claims that the change only affects 6% of overall queries.
The more important question is how does this research affect YOU? Here are the steps to see how this change really affected your campaigns and what you can do about it:
1. Compare Your Cost-Per-Click, Click-Through-Rate and Average Position
Plot your campaigns’ CPC, CTR and average position 45-60 days before the Google ad change took place to present. Then, analyze the data to see if any unusual changes took place during that time frame.
2. Look at Changes in Your Auction Insights Report
Use the auction insights report in your AdWords account to compare the advertising space before and after the ad change took place. Do you see more or less advertisers? Were your CPC and overall conversions affected? Did your impression share or top of page rate change? Depending on the changes, you will need to make adjustments to offset any shifts you see in the market share.
3. Reevaluate Your Bidding Strategies
Google confirms that almost all conversions happen at the top results in Google, especially on mobile devices. So, how is your top of page bidding strategy performing? Do you need to increase your maximum bid or increase bid amounts for your “low-quality” keywords? To review changes since the right-side ads were removed you’ll need to run a Google report before, during and after the ad change and look at how your impression share at the top of page compares to overall impressions.
4. Determine Which Ad Position Is Best For You
Run a top vs. side report to see which spot converts the best for you and if the bottom ads are even worth bidding for. To do this, go to Google reports and add ‘Top vs. Side’ as the main column, then add conversions, average position, clicks, CPC, conversion rate, impressions and CTR. Assessing this report should give you a good indication of which ad positions are working best for you.
If you’re looking to make adjustments to your PPC campaign or need additional consulting in search optimization efforts please contact our team to talk further about your specific needs.